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Pepperdine | Graziadio Business School

Michael Bennett, MBA '06

Graziadio Spotlight Stories

Michael Bennett

Why did you choose Pepperdine University Graziadio Business School?

"I chose Pepperdine University because the Graziadio Business School is well connected to the international business world. I liked the fact that much of its student body comes from all over the world to study here and students have the opportunity to travel across the globe to acquire an international business perspective."

How would you define the "Pepperdine difference"?

"Working with my peers was just as valuable to me as learning from the faculty. The Pepperdine difference is the peer-to-peer interactions and professional relationships students build with one another. We shared our insights, wisdom, and best practices with each other both inside and outside of the classroom."

How did getting your MBA from Pepperdine help to advance you in your career?

"Earning my MBA from Pepperdine taught me how business is done differently around the world, and that sense of perspective has influenced the work I pursue, with whom I work with, and how I conduct myself in the international business world. The Pepperdine experience showed me how to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds, and how to work with people from around the world to celebrate, embrace, and leverage those differences in our business endeavors."

What advice would you give to someone who is considering seeking an MBA?

"My advice to prospective MBA students is to know why you want an MBA. It is important to know your goals, objectives, and desired outcomes—to have a sense of purpose for what you are doing. You should have a vision and a plan for what you want to achieve, and seeking an MBA should be a part of that larger plan."

What is your favorite Pepperdine Graziadio memory? And why?

"Studying abroad at the Copenhagen Business School not only gave me the opportunity to learn international business from some of the world's brightest academic minds, but it also provided me with the opportunity to learn from fellow international students on a cultural level. This experience allowed me to travel and reflect on who I was at the time, find my place in the world, and determine the direction I wanted to take my career."

How did you develop Muddy Shoe Adventures? Where did you get the idea?

"Spending a semester in Copenhagen was an eye opener and a catalyst for wanting to share my travel experiences with others. I discovered that I wanted to share the gift of travel and the impact those experiences can have on one's life. Within two years of getting my MBA, I returned to Pepperdine to earn my Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from the Graduate School of Education and Psychology. After reflecting on my own travel experiences, I focused my doctoral research on experiential learning and the transformational power of travel experiences. Upon finishing my dissertation, I knew that I wanted to create opportunities for people to be able to experience the personal transformation one goes through when traveling—and thus, Muddy Shoe Adventures was born."

About Michael Bennett

Pepperdine Graziadio Alumnus Michael Bennett, EdD, is the founder and chief adventure officer at Muddy Shoe Adventures, where he creates and delivers handcrafted, life-changing adventure programs in some of the world's most incredible and iconic destinations. Built around Michael's doctoral research on the transformational power of travel experiences, every Muddy Shoe Adventure is an opportunity to explore the world in a fun, yet meaningful way with a small group of fellow explorers. Prior to launching Muddy Shoe Adventures, Michael worked four years in higher education administration, and six years as a senior level organizational development consultant and personal and professional development coach.

He earned his Master of Business Administration from the Graziadio Business School in 2006 and his Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EDOL) from the Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology in 2012. In addition to his work at Muddy Shoe Adventures, Michael is a life and career coach, as well as co-founder of the Transformational Travel Association.